When you talk about the beaches in Portugal, most people’s thoughts will go right to the 100 miles of sandy coastline in the Algarve on the southern coast of the country. But the beaches of the Algarve account for just one portion of the more than 500 miles of coast – and beaches – in this sun-drenched country.
The Portuguese Tourist Office has written about some the other beaches on their website:
Covering more than 850km, the Portuguese coast boasts such a large number of fine, white sandy beaches that it’s almost impossible to keep count. All bathed by the Atlantic Ocean and all different, their beauty is hard to describe, so there’s nothing better than to discover them for yourself.
The most famous are in the Algarve. With three thousand hours of sun per year and warm waters, there are beaches along its 200km length to suit every taste and many dreamlike resorts. The choices are many, from sandy stretches extending as far as the eye can see to the smaller coves, sheltered by jagged cliffs, the trade image of the region, and they are always accompanied by a clear, calm sea which is ideal for practising various water sports.
Sagres, on the southwestern tip of the European continent, marks the transition. It is situated on the Vicentina Coast which forms, together with Southwestern Alentejo, one of the best preserved stretches of the European coastline. There are deserted beaches here, of a wild beauty, where you can enjoy an unparalleled contact with Nature. And near Sines a stretch of sand starts that extends for over 60km to end in Troia, a challenge for trekking buffs.
In Costa da Caparica, the beaches are particularly dear to Lisbonites who have many different options around the capital for sun and sea bathing. There’s a wide variety from the Estoril coastline, with its cosmopolitan feel and signs of a golden age when it was the refuge of Kings and aristocrats, to the secluded beaches of the idyllic area of Sintra. And the sea offers perfect waves for surfing, whose ultimate expression is to be found further north on the Ericeira, Peniche and Nazaré beaches.
In the centre, you will find very wide sandy stretches, to which traditional fishing adds a picturesque touch. And further north, the colder waters and the invigorating sea are tempered by the welcoming atmosphere and the clean air of the mountains and the forests. And don’t forget the islands. In the Madeira archipelago, the highlight is the long, golden sandy beach of the Island of Porto Santo with its therapeutic properties, and in the Azores you will find black sand of volcanic origin, framed by every shade of green, typical of a well preserved environment.
Despite all their differences, they all share one thing: quality. They are safe and offer a wide range of support and recreational services, which meet every need of their users, and a large number of Portuguese beaches are granted the European blue flag every year, a distinction that is an indication of their excellent conditions.
Another distinction that many of our beaches take pride in displaying is that of accessible beach. That is how those with access for persons with reduced mobility are identified, many of which actually offer equipment to allow everyone to enjoy bathing in the sea.
But the beach attractions in Portugal are not restricted to the bathing season. All year round, they are the ideal places for a stroll, for sports, for admiring nature or tasting the delicious Portuguese cuisine, in which the best fish in the world and the seafood have pride of place, always with breath-taking views over the sea. Could there be a better programme?
For more information on the beaches of the Algarve and the Blue Flag eco-label awarded to beaches, click here.
Photo credit: Praia de Porto de Mós © John Copland
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